Timeline : Invasion + 3 years 6 months.
PCs – Bert Stein
Iuz have taken the coast road and are camped 1 days march from Y’bent. Reports are coming into Y’bent of a naval blockade sitting 10 miles off the coast.
Rationing of food and fuels is in force as a precautionary measure. Recruiting stations have been setup and all citizens are being asked to register their skills and trades with the main factions(Y’bent, Black Legion, Felix Rex).
The mood in Y’bent is that of blitz spirit. Life goes on as usual for most people in the city.
The taverns by the docks are especially busy as many sailors unable to leave port are forced to spent time on the land.
Bert Stein has been entertaining the masses in The Stumbling Pig for a number of nights and has taken up residence. After his show a Felix Rex administrator and a pair of marines enter the bar and start approaching various people. They step over to Bert. “Mr Stein, You registered your skills with Felix Rex. We have need of someone with your language skills. Please report to the Harbourmasters office at dock 12 tomorrow at 9”.
The following morning Bert reports to the office as directed. He arrives to find a throng of people standing around a table outside the office where a clerk is scribbling away. He sees a pair of Dwarves in Black Legion colours that frequent The Stumbling Pig and so strikes up conversation with them. They introduce themselves as Drung and Gleoin, a pair of brothers that have been with the legion for a while but were assigned to Y’bent.
A large Minotuar in Felix Rex uniform steps out of the office and bellows “ATTENTION ON DECK” causing the crowd to stiffen (as well as a number of deckhands on nearby boats). The clerk stands on a small chair. “If I read your name, please step into the office as you will be needed this morning. “ He rattles off a list of names including Bert and the 2 dwarves.
They step into the damp of the harbourmasters office followed by the Minotaur. The clerk explains the situation.
“There is a naval blockade around Y’bent which is tightening daily which is cutting off supply routes into the city. We think that they may be wearing us down ready to move in for an attack. It has been decided that we should send a delegation to meet with the elves and lizardmen in Llewellaf to persuade them to bring their forces north and engage Iuz before they can sweep south into their lands. You are all here representing the major factions of the allies and so can present a joint delegation. We will also be sending you with some artefacts to present to them as a show of good will.”
“Unfortunately all of our airships have been requisitioned for essential war efforts and travelling by land will take too long so the only option will be to travel by sea. We have managed to enlist the services of a ship that has a proven track record as being able to outmanoeuvre and evade the authorities. Lieutenant Gant will be coming with you to provide Felix Rex authority on the ship. You have the afternoon to gather your travelling effects and you will be required to meet at bay 23 before sunset. You will be sailing on The Black Rose”
Leaving the offices there is a bit of a commotion as the Dwarves borrow a handcart to transport their essentials to the ship ready for the voyage.
Nearing sunset Bert makes his way down to the dockside and sees The Black Rose being loaded. Lieutenant Gant is waiting with a clipboard beside the gangplank. As he approaches the gangplank there is a clatter from behind as the 2 dwarves bounce down the cobbles with a handcart stacked with ale casks.
Bert boards the ship while the Dwarves argue with Lieutenant Gant that all the casks are essential for their journey.
The Black Rose is an old Goldrunner class ship, the equivalent of a floating strongbox, but very fast with it. Ships that had armoured cargo holds and an armoured prow to help evade pirates. The ship is charred with age and has been modified heavily including the addition on an extra mast. The crew are a rag tag dressed in parts of various uniforms. Many seem to be wearing at least one piece of Felix Rex clothing.
Captain Hancock is standing at the bow of the ship staring out across the water. He is tall and stocky and wearing a ¾ length naval officer’s coat, which shows many decades of age and wear. His hair is black and pulled into a small pony tail held with a piece of white ribbon. He has been “asked” to help Felix Rex in exchange for some of his prior misdemeanours to be stricken from the record.
Once all of the delegation and cargo is on board, the gangplank is pulled back and Captain Hancock blows a 2 tone on his whistle and a large white sail is dropped from the rigging. It picks up the wind and the ship slowly glides out of the harbour.
As night falls, the blockade line becomes visible on the horizon. A call goes out amongst the crew to extinguish all lights. The white sails are hoisted and replaced with a black sail of a finer material. As the ship draws nearer, a dreadnaught starts turning towards it. Gant argues with Hancock that they will not be able pass it on the port side without being blasted to pieces by its broadsides and treacherous rocks and currents on the starboard side rule that out. “We must turn around and head back”. Hancock, assures Gant “trust me, I have been outrunning Felix Rex ships this way for many years, That dreadnaught is too big to get close enough to the rocks but we should be just the right size to slip through. There’s a reason why you could only catch me when I was forced to stay in the harbour longer than I had to”. He calls to the crew and the second sail is dropped giving the Black Rose a burst of speed as the wind catches.
The Black Rose speeds towards the Dreadnaught head on and at the last moment pulls hard starboard and whips into the currents around the rocks. The Black Rose passes behind a large cluster of rocks as the Dreadnaught opens fire with its full broadsides. Grapeshot pings of the rocks around the ship. The Black Rose rides the strong current out of the rocks and off into open water, leaving the dreadnaught trying to manoeuvre into the wind and around in a wide arc.
An hour later and the horizon is clear of ships, and so the crew decide to take some rest.
The next morning the sky is blue and clear, the seas are calm and the seabirds are circling the ship. The 2 clerics of St Cuthbert have ventured up on deck for a stroll and have been praying. Bert is woken by the sound of hammering on wood. Sitting up he sees one of the crew being hoisted over the side carrying a bucket of nails and a hammer in his mouth.
The dwarves and the 2 from Y’bent have spent the entire time down below gambling and playing drinking games.
Consulting the charts shows that they should reach Llewellaf by the following afternoon if they can keep the current pace up.
As the day draws on the skies get darker as storm clouds start gathering. A shout rings out from the nest “A ship is following us!”.
Peering through a scope a ship (a Barque) is cutting through the waves and gaining on the Black Rose. Standing on the Prow of the ship is a large Knight in dull blue/black armour. He is lashing a chain whip around and snorting flame and black smoke from the visor of his helmet.
The storm intensifies, sharp rain slants sideways across the ship and the sky boils with black cloud and bright purple streaks of lightning.
The pursuing ship is cutting the distance to the Black Rose with every passing minute.
At around 300 yards there the crump of a cannon in the distance followed by the whoosh of a passing projectile as a 4 inch Iron Ball passes and takes a chunk out of the main mast. Further following shots send splinters flying as parts of the deck are peppered with grapeshot and solid ball.
Mr Hancock orders all of the passengers into the armoured cargo holds.
At 75 yards there is a crump followed by the sound of unravelling chain as a giant harpoon smashes through the crew quarters at the rear of the ship and takes hold.
Bert stands on the aft deck and starts to conjure. He produces an illusion of a large stack of rocks coming from the water and then a bank of fog. The illusion works and the Barque pulls hard to port to avoid the rocks, ripping the harpoon from the Black Rose along with great swathes of the lower decks.
Bert then produces a hypnotising pattern to appear on the deck of the barque. The pilot becomes completely engrossed in the mesmerising image and allows the ship to veer wildly of course away from the Black Rose. The Knight, turns and roars. He walks to the rear of the ship and throws the pilot over board taking control of the wheel himself.
All over both ships, St Elmos fire appears arcing off everything metal. A blinding flash of purple light illuminates both ships as a fork of purple lighting grounds itself on the masts. The already weakened main mast of the Black Rose creaks and splinters and blows out, toppling the mast sideways off the ship, dragged along by its rigging.
The sky dances with shimmering purple lights.
“Mr Stein, Get below and get secured as we’re going to ram this bastard!” cries out Mr Hancock.
Bert rushes below deck. At the bottom of the steps he is greeted with the sight of the crashing seas where the crew quarters once were. Bouncing along the corridor he gets to the iron door of the secure hold and steps inside.
The rest of the passengers are inside and bracing themselves against the crates and barrels which are being thrown about by the angry waves. Drung is unconscious and is sliding about on the floor as the ship rocks.
A moment later there is a large jolt and a crash, and the ship goes back to bouncing through the storm seas.
The Iron Door swings open and Gant appears carrying Hancock who has a huge gash in his forehead.
“The other ship has gone down. We turned into him and rammed his sides. Hancock knew what he was doing when he picked a ship with an armoured bow. We cut his ship in half.”
The clerics get to work on patching up Hancock.
“What’s the situation with the Black Rose?” asks Bert.
“The mast is damaged and we’d be foolish to try and make any repairs in this storm. We’ll ride it out down here”.
The ship rolls violently to its starboard side, throwing everyone and everything against the wall. A large cask of red wine explodes as it makes contact with the iron walls.
Bert pulls a piece of rope from his kit and holds it in the air, using his rope trick to open a space in another dimension at the top of it. Everyone climbs up into the space, except for Gant as there is no room for him. They all peer out from the space as the ship bounces from side to side. All of a sudden there is a loud crack of lighting and the ship rocks on to one side and starts shuddering. There is the loud noise of wood and metal grinding over rock before it all stops, just as silently as it began.
The rocking of the ship has stopped. The cargo hold smells of boiling wine and there is a haze of steam in the air.
The passengers climb down out of the ropetrick space and into the cargo compartment which is now lying at a 45 degree angle.
“Are we at the bottom of the ocean?”
“If we were this place would be rapidly filling with water”
Gant steps up to the iron door and wrenches it open. The smell of salt air blows in along with the sound of waves crashing on the shoreline. Shafts of light shine through the twisted mess of wood piled around the doorway.
Hancock snaps out of his daze and climbs out of the door dropping down onto wet sand. Moments later the sound of agonised weeping drifts through into the cargo hold.
The passengers all climb out of the hold and onto the beach and clamber through the wreckage of the Black Rose.
It is a beautiful sunny morning. The air is calm and still. The beach is pure white sand and stretches for miles into the distance. Looking out to sea there is a large expanse of rock which arcs out from both ends of the beach and which forms a pair of natural piers several miles out. Looking inland from the beach there is a small amount of crab grass which fades into dense jungle and follows the contours of a hill up to a sheer red rock cliff. At the top of the cliffs on a plateau can be seen the faint outlines of manmade structures.
All around the shore parts of the Black Rose and its cargo are being swept up onto the beach by the tides.
The crew of the Black Rose are missing and so the remaining 9 begin the process of salvaging what they can from the wreckage and from the beach and build a small camp into the shelter of the tree line.
Watches are set and the survivors set in for the night. During the night there are a few false alarms as the jungle creatures which make their way in the night crash through undergrowth and whoop and holler to each other.
The following morning, Althia and Gleoin prepare a hearty breakfast while the group discuss their options.
Mr Hancock and Gant have been watching the stars and the sun and think they have calculated which way is east. Working on the basis that they were on the east of Llewellaf and they have wrecked on the shore then they assume that heading inland will take them to the city.
A makeshift backpack is fashioned out of wood and rigging to allow Gant to carry the chest of artefacts. They fill as many flasks of fresh water and take as much as they need to keep them for a few days.
As they start off into the jungle they start to pick up small trails which meander through the trees. The deeper into the jungle the higher the humidity gets although there is very little sunlight able to break through the thick canopy. Strand and Garter are moving ahead out front scouting out the path.
After a couple of hours walking, Strand stops suddenly. There is a lot of movement in the trees and grass up ahead. Strand and Garter stealth off up the path to check it out. Returning a few minutes later.
Coming down the trail towards them is a group of 12 small humanoids. Dressed in hides, and with baggy grey skin. They are carrying clubs or jagged, badly made swords and a few of them are dragging a big empty sled behind them. They seem to be squabbling a lot amongst themselves.
Strand and Garter move out to the side and hide in the undergrowth and the rest of the group stand their ground. The humanoids wander out of the trees and spot them.
“Hello there” shouts Bert
“AAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!” screams one of the humanoids as they charge forward.
Bert unleashes a colour spray spell knocking the initial 6 charging humanoids to the floor. The 2 dwarves step up and engage a couple of the others. Gant raises his blunderbuss and sends a blast of shot into another.
There is a crash of trees and a giant mastiff(size of a bull) leaps over the sled onto the trail in front of the dwarves. Mounted on the mastiff is a large orc like creature with dark grey skin. He is clad in plate armour and is lashing a spiked bull whip.
Strand and Garter appear out of their hiding spots and make for the mastiff. The rider swings out with the whip catching Garter round the leg and pulling him off his feet. Bert throws a bolt of lightning at the rider throwing him backwards off his mount. The mastiff smashes Drung with its paw sending him flying back into the undergrowth.
Gant is set upon by a couple of the humanoids as his blunderbuss misfires. Hancock runs one through and steps up to the mastiff. Strand makes a leap and stabs his sword into the back of the mastiffs neck and hangs on as it thrashes about. Gleoin takes a battering from its paws and it bends his shield around him.
Strand is thrown clear of the mastiff and so Bert leaps onto its back using the sword handle as a makeshift pommel. He is thrown about and topples over the side of the beast but manages to retain his grasp on the sword handle. Hancock runs up and attempts to skewer the animal but is kicked off to the side.
A large thick handled spear lands in the flank of the mastiff and it lets out a yelp. Shortly following the spear comes a giant lizardman who crashes into the mastiff and wrestles it to the ground by the neck before cutting its throat out with a large flint sword. The Lizardman is enormous, standing a good few feet taller than Gant and much wider. He is wearing a linen shirt, sackcloth trousers and a large pair of leather boots.
Garter appears from further down the path covered in blood and wiping his blades down. Strand retrieves his sword and they all make sure that the other humanoids are dead.
Out of the hole in the trees made by the first giant lizardman steps a much older looking and smaller lizardman. He is about 6’6 and dressed in a thick black coat that looks like whale skin. He has several leather bags strapped around him.
He sees the group and stops in his tracks. He calls out a greeting in Selidorian “Hail, travellers”. Bert knows Selidorian but this is the first time he has heard it spoken in this dialect. He returns a similar greeting. The old lizard looks perplexed so adds in basic “You’re not a natural speaker are you?”
He asks where the group have come from and explains that he and his son were on their way to scavenge from the wreckage, and that’s probably what these Dark Ones were after.
He introduces himself as Old Finn the scavenger and his son Markov. He is a fisherman but makes most of his trade in the flotsam and jetsam that seems to find its way into the bay. He asks the group where they are headed. “Llewellaf” is the response. He looks confused for a moment and explains that there is no-where on the continent called Llewellaf. Finn tells the group that they are on an island known simply as The Continent in basic, and that there are no other lands anywhere round here. He listens as Bert explains where they have come from and some of the names seem familiar to him. “I have a friend who may be able to help you find out where you are and where you need to be. I can take you to him up in the city”. The group agree to follow Finn and he leads them through the jungle moving higher up the slopes and nearer the red cliffs. They reach a clearing of red stone at the base of the cliffs. Built up against the cliff walls is collection of stone buildings ringed with a fence made of reclaimed wood. Some of the wood has elven and dwarven designs on it. In the yard there are stacks of barrels, crates and various pieces of salvage. Finn goes into his house and invites them in. His house is decorated with a wide range of items salvaged over the years including some impressive looking old shields. He has many bookcases filled with different books in all different languages. He changes into a ¾ length frock coat in a faded maroon along with a pair of britches and a simple shirt.
They lock the yard up and head toward a fissure in the side of the red cliffs. As they approach the fissure they see that it is much larger than it appeared from a distance and is the start of a long wide winding path up to the top of the cliffs.
Bert asks Finn about his friend. His friend is The Moray Darnast, the head of the religious order(Moray is his title). He and Finn have been friends since an early age.
Intrigued, Bert chats to Finn about the Lizardmen and The Continent. Finn explains
“The story goes that at one time there was the primordial swamp, and the earth lizard. The earth lizard gave birth to a clutch of eggs but the Dark Ones came to steal them. They poisoned the swamp with their evil. The earth lizard swallowed the Dark Ones, curled up and petrified herself to protect the eggs. 5 of the eggs hatched out into the 5 species of lizardmen, The Kommodans, The Thornhides, The Gekkota, The Dillia, and The Mons, and the last hatched out and became all the other animals on the continent. These are of course all stories to help children sleep better at night but of course some people don’t see it that way. The Mons generally look after the tradition and religion but are also our mages and our scientists.”
After several hours climb the group emerge from the pass onto a plateau high above the jungle. They can see the white walls of the city, lit from above with flaming beacons.
“Kalimeen, The summer city”
There is a crossroads ahead and carts and wagons are approaching the city from several different directions as the sun goes down, behind the distant mountains.
Finn warns the group. “No-one has seen your kinds round here for many, many years, well not a living example. Who knows how the people will react around you. I think we should exercise caution for now.”
They walk along the side of the road as wagons and carts speed passed. All of the wagons are pulled by horse like beasts with big powerful front legs and small patches of scaly skin showing through the furs.
A little way out from the city, Finn halts the group. “There are a couple of big Thornhide guards on duty and if they see you they are likely to ensure that your journey ends here, abruptly. I’ll head in and fetch Darnast” He disappears off down the road at speed and through the gates of the city.
About 30 minutes later he appears walking back along the road with a figure in a long hooded robe. They reach the group and they can see the hooded figure looks similar to Finn but with a shorter snout. He has a small pair of square glasses perched on the end of his nose.
After introductions and a brief roadside chat, Darnast decides that he will get them into the city and they can stay in his house. He flags down a passing cart. The cart driver recognises The Moray instantly and starts ringing his cap in his hands. A short while later the driver is unloading a few crates of berries onto the roadside to make room for the group in the back of the cart.
After a brief cart ride they can hear the sounds of a bustling city, the sun has set and the air is warm and humid. The cart pulls into a walled yard and stops. The group alights from the cart and Darnast leads them into a big empty market hall. Moving through the hall, he takes them into a garden where a small stone building, like a tool shed stands in the corner. Unlocking the door he reveals a set of steps which leads down to a tunnel system. Moving along a network of tunnels they climb a set of stone steps and appear inside a large office. There are bookshelves or display cases on every wall and a large wooden desk sits in the middle. The doorway they have just come from is a panel from the wall and when closed is completely hidden.
“I’ll take you to some rooms we have here in the Seminary and we can start the research in the morning”.
They are taken to a corridor lined with doors to bedrooms and are left for the evening.
The following morning they are woken by a young Mon cleric in light blue robes and cap. He informs them that breakfast is served.
The breakfast is a large dish comprising mainly of large ham like steaks and eggs. Over breakfast Mr Hancock and Gant are looking over some charts and maps of the continent and its surrounding seas and Darnast is working his way through a pile of scrolls in tubes.
“Prince Leander has requested that you meet him this morning after breakfast.”
Once breakfast is finished they head back into the tunnels and emerge some time later in a large conservatory. The room is plushly decorated and filled with sofas, loungers and throw pillows. After a few minutes the double doors leading into the main house pop open and a tall darkgreen lizardman strides through while a slightly smaller lizardman fusses about him trying to tie a lace cravat around his neck. The taller lizardman is very well built, standing at 7’6” and is dressed in fine cream silks (in a regency style). The other gent is dressed in a much more sombre black frock coat and britches. The taller man says “Ok Rushkin, that will be all for now. Be a good chap and fetch some refreshments.”
The introductions are made to Prince Leander and the situation discussed. One of the panels in the wall bursts open and a large Thornhide strides through. His skin is sandy brown with deeper brown scales and armour plates. The natural armour of his right arm is completely missing and has been replaced with metal version. He has a thick red cloak clipped round his neck and a short roman style skirt. His tail is thick and ends in a spiked ball. He is accompanied by 3 much smaller lizardmen. One is carrying a large round shield, another a Naginata and the last is carrying a personal battle standard.
“WHY WAS I NOT INFORMED OF THIS SECURITY THREAT?” Bellows the large Lizardman.
Another wall panel on the opposite side pops open and a small lizardman strides through. He looks very chamelionlike and is 4’ tall. He is dressed in an amazingly fine mauve velvet suit with lace cuffs. He carries a shiny black walking cane.
Leander says “Ah, I’d like to introduce Lord Provost Marshall Horatio, commander of the armies, and of course, Noble Gent, Lord Guy de Arnequer”. We seem to be missing someone but I’m sure he’ll be along in a minute”. As Leander utters these words a 3rd panel opens and a large Alligator looking lizardman huffs and puffs his way through followed by an entourage of clerks carrying book bags and scroll cases. He is extremely rotund and wears a thick green cummerbund around his vast waist. His coat was designed never to be fastened. As soon as he enters the room one of his clerks pulls a chair over for him. “… of course, Lord chief Justice Osk, The remaining member of the council. I wasn’t aware that I’d summoned you here but I guess word travels fast”.
Horatio bellows “These intruders are a serious threat to the city and should never have been allowed through its gates. I move that they be locked in my Brighouse until they can be interrogated and executed!”
Darnast replies “They are lost travellers looking to find a way back where they came from. I will take responsibility for them under the watch of the Mons”
Osk is being handed different books and scrolls by his clerks. He shakes his head as he passes them back. Eventually he stops at one “There is legal precedent for this happening. According to Felse vs Acre, any council member can request a prisoner to be held at their pleasure until appropriate trial by peer, punishment or challenge”.
“Very well. Darnast they are in your care until we can decide what best to do with them” replies Leander.
Lord Guy pipes up “And I will hold a ball in your honour tonight at my mansion. It will be the biggest and best I have thrown this season!”
With that Lord Horatio grunts and leaves via the panel with his attendants, shortly followed by Osk and Arnequer via theirs.
“Looks like I have a party to get ready for. Rushkin, I’ll need my tailor…” calls Leander and he leaves via the main doors, leaving Darnast to escort the group out of the conservatory and back to the Seminary.
That afternoon, the group are taken by Moray Darnast to the traders and artificers quarter to have new outfits tailored ready for the party at the Arnequer mansion. The market places are bustling with lizardmen going about their day to day business, although many stop to stare at the party. Eventually they arrive at a large double fronted tailors shop. In large guilt lettering above the shop is painted “Stanson, Brookes, Mire and Swan – Tailoring by Royal appointment”. Darnast leads them in and immediately is greeted by a small Gekkotan called Monsieur Brookes. He is dressed in Grey trousers, a White shirt and a Black waistcoat and a dark green apron.
The shop is racks of fine clothes at the front and through to the back are stacks of materials and an array of complex looking sewing machines and looms all chattering away.
Darnast explains that the group will need some party attire tailored for that evening. He summons up a gaggle of shopboys who hurry round the group taking measurements and fetching batons of cloth from the back shop. Brookes advises them of the latest styles(as dictated that morning by Lord Arnequers morning stroll), Buckles are in, as are ribbon neckties and the colours are in the blue and purple range.
After the fitting they are taken to an inn nestled amongst a town square area. They sit out in a garden and are brought food and drinks until it is time to return to the Mons building to get dressed for the party. Arriving back they find their new clothing all waiting for them on the beds and it is finely tailored and fits perfectly.
Carriages are waiting to take them to the party and after a short ride through the city they pull through the gates onto the vast real estate that is the Arnequer mansion. The carriages pull up outside and they are escorted by a footman up the steps and through the front doors and straight to the ballroom.
The party is already in full swing as various nobles mingle about in lavish costumes. A full orchestra is playing some light an airy music which drifts across the room.
They are greeted and meet up with some of the dignitaries they have already had the pleasure of meeting earlier, including Osk, Horatio and of course Prince Leander. Bert is taken by the arm by Lord Arnequer who whisks him from one group of guests to another. He is only stopped when a footman arrives and whispers in his ear and he leaves Bert alone. Lord Arnequer strides down to the centre of the dancefloor as the orchestra falls silent. Lady Arnequer has walked down the opposite steps and met him in the middle. As they arrive, the orchestra strikes up again and they begin a series of dance moves. The rest of the partygoers are watching them with interest and after 16 bars or so, an eager couple step in and follow the lead of the moves. Soon the dancefloor is awash with couples mimicking the moves of the Arnequers.
Later on in the evening there is a commotion at the front doors as an injured Kommodan flanked by a couple of Thornhide guards is talking hurriedly to a footman. The footman moves swiftly to Lord Horatio and whispers in his ear. Horatio then follows the footman through the doors and out into the yard. Bert and a few of the others also follow.
By the time Bert reaches the courtyard a patrol of 10 Thornhides have assembled mounted on War Hronx. Bert is filled in on the situation and asks if he and a few of the others can tag along. They are given a mount and the patrol gallops out of the city gates and down onto the plains. In the distance the flames of the burning village can be seen.
It takes several hours to get to the village and so it is light when they arrive. The flames have burned themselves out leaving only smouldering ruins. The village is arranged in a square of buildings and all but one of them are wooden beam construction. There is a larger stone village hall at the centre of the square.
All around are signs of a vicious slaughter. Lizardman corpses lie bloody and battered all around. The thornhides immediately form a perimeter guard and start searching for survivors.
Inside the village hall, a single Mon lizardman lies against a large stone throne holding a gaping wound to his stomach. The hall has been trashed although there are gold and silver ornaments and trinkets scattered everywhere. The old Mon manages to describe what has happened. A horde of goblins lead by a knight in black armour stormed the village during the day. They only seemed interested in prying the gemstones out of the throne. Several of the gems have been removed and smashed on the floor. Most have been removed and are missing now.
The village hall is secured and anything valuable is recovered. The Mon is treated and the patrol rides back to the city.
Bert meets back up with Moray Darnast and asks him about the significance of the gemstones. The throne seems to be a relic dating back several thousand years and the stones are a rare mineral mined from within the Ironring mountains. The gem is formed when high power lightning strikes the mountains in certain places and the causes the minerals to crystalize in seams. The gems which had been smashed in the village hall were paste replicas used to replace gems as they have been lost or damaged over the millennia.
Further research in the library reveals that they used to power transport gates, which could harness warp lightning energies and connect places. There used to be a network of gates that connected nodes all over the ancient territories of Selidor. There is even a sketch of a gateway in the Cathedral.
Rushing from the library to the Cathedral they find a large section at the very back has been bricked in centuries earlier. Carefully removing some of the bricks they find a hollow centre containing a large stone archway. Moray Darnast immediately sets about organising a team to excavate the gateway.
Bert investigates the goblins by asking around some of the wallside taverns, where adventurers and miners hang out. Goblins it seems, are generally timid unless they greatly outnumber the enemy in which case they will attack if threatened. They usually only attack at night using darkness and even then don’t stray too far from the mountains. The Goblins all live in the cavern systems within the Ironring mountains and this is why it is dangerous to be a miner. Bert realises that if the Goblins are taking the stones back to the mountains he must retrieve them and to do so, must return to the village and track the goblins back to their lair from there.
Over the next day many reports have started pouring into the city that more attacks have been sweeping across the plains destroying farms and towns, the leader being identified as a 7’ tall knight clad in blue black armour, and brandishing a chain whip. Bert now knows this is the same knight that was pursuing him and the ship following their breakout from the blockade around Y’bent.
Bert and the group decide to ride out to the mountains to find out more. Taking a small patrol of Thornhides with them they set off and make camp at a burned out settlement within a half days ride of the mountains to bed down for the night. Watches are set and everyone hunkers for warmth inside a small stone hut. During the night an alert is raised as noise can be heard from the far side of the village. Strand and Garter are sent off to recon and report back. Strand returns after a few minutes. There are a gang of goblins with cleavers and a sled carving meat from the carcass of a slaughtered megalauroch. Just then there is a yell from Garter. Bert and the rest set off across the village and engaged the goblins. The goblins were quickly dispatched and Garter got off with some light injuries. The rest of the night was uneventful.
The following morning, the group was able to follow the drag marks left by the Goblins sled to trace their movements back to the mountains. The Thornhides made a small camp on the plains to look after the mounts and Bert followed the tracks up into an old mine entrance.
The first couple of hours takes them through axe hewn chambers and signs of a worked mine. Old wooden props and beams shore up the ceilings and there are exploratory shafts dug off following mineral seams. After a while the mine shafts break into naturally formed tunnels with rounder walls, running with water seeping through the millions of tonnes of rock. Signs of older Goblin lairs can be found in chambers.
Soon they come across a goblin shaman, pinned out on the floor. His skin has been flayed and he is gibbering incoherently. They put the goblin out of its misery and move on.
After battling through a few makeshift goblin guardhouses they find themselves on a ledge looking into a huge empty cavern. Rock bridges link to an island seemingly floating in the centre. On the island is a pair
of giant stone pillars surrounded by goblin shamans all laying hands to it. The knight is kneeling before the pillars. There is red lightning arcing between them, which every now and then discharges to one of the shamans burning him up. As soon as the shaman falls another runs from the darkness and takes the place.
After much deliberation Bert and the party decide that whatever happens they must stop this as they are unsure as to whether the knight is trying to open a portal to escape or a portal to bring forces through. They attack with the aim that they will keep the knight occupied while they attempt to kill the shamans and destroy the pillars/remove the stones.
After a hard fought battle they had vanquished the knight and stopped the portal being opened. The gems are gathered from the pillars.
They took the gem stones back to Summer City and through more research found the arrangement to open the portal through to an intact gateway near LLewellaf. They travelled through along with a group of Thornhide warriors and clerics to guard the portal from the Oearth side. They also brought through a diplomatic delegation to meet with the rulers of the alliances.
All of the party returned with the exception of Mr Hancock who is staying in Kalimeen for the time being to act as an envoy to the Lizardmen.